If literature aids in furthering human knowledge and understanding, then encouraging children to read is one of the building blocks of our civilization.
— Elizabeth Bird, Children’s Literature Gems, p.9
The public perception that children’s librarians just sit around all day and read kids’ books may be a mistaken notion, but it does hint at one thing correctly. Our job is, not to put too fine a point on it, awesome.
— Elizabeth Bird, Children’s Literature Gems, p. 9
Librarians’ values are as sound as Girl Scouts’: truth, free speech, and universal literacy. And, like Scouts, they possess a quality that I think makes librarians invaluable and indispensable: they want to help. They want to help us. They want to be of service. And they’re not trying to sell us anything. But as one librarian put it, “The wolf is always at the door.” In tight economic times, with libraries sliding farther and farther down the list of priorities, we risk the loss of their ideals, intelligence, and knowledge, not to mention their commitment to access for all — librarians consider free access to information the foundation of democracy, and they’re right. Librarians are essential players in the information revolution because they level that field. They enable those without money or education to read and learn the same things as the billionaire and the Ph.D. In prosperous libraries, they loan out laptops; in strapped ones, they dole out half hours of computer time. They are the little “d” democrats of the computer age who keep the rest of us wired.
In tough times, a librarian is a terrible thing to waste.
— Marilyn Johnson, This Book Is Overdue!, p. 8
The profession that had once been the quiet gatekeeper to discrete palaces of knowledge is now wrestling a raucous, multiheaded, madly multiplying beast of exploding information and information delivery systems. Who can we trust? In a world where information itself is a free-for-all, with traditional news sources going bankrupt and publishers in trouble, we need librarians more than ever.
— Marilyn Johnson, This Book Is Overdue! p. 7
Good librarians are natural intelligence operatives. They possess all of the skills and characteristics required for that work: curiosity, wide-ranging knowledge, good memories, organizational and analytical aptitude, and discretion.
— Marilyn Johnson, This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, p. 6
There is a belief that once you begin to open books, you will become a better person. It is Pandora’s box, but in a good way. You are inching toward the promised land, page by page. And it doesn’t matter if you subscribe to this theory or not. The subscription has already been bought and paid for.
We are all misfits, poseurs, and clowns. We are heartbroken and lonely, failures in life, criminals and frauds. Most of our successes are pleasant illusions. Through the books on the shelves, the library becomes a support group and lets us know that we are not alone. Once we realize we are not alone, we can relax, set our burdens down, and move on.
— Don Borchert, Free for All, p. xiv-xv
Sometimes a library use is simple. You want something, go to the library to get it, and leave satisfied. Sometimes it can be more than that. You look at a website on a library computer and that reminds you of a book of which you have not thought for years or takes you to an article by someone completely unknown to you that, in turn, takes you to a DVD of a half-forgotten movie. Once you have had that experience, you understand the true glory of the library — that complex and never-ending series of connections to the entire human record.
— Michael Gorman, Our Own Selves: More Meditations for Librarians, p. 204
One of the great intangible benefits of library work is the sense of self-worth that comes when we realize that, no matter how humdrum the day or week, we are playing a part in bringing the good things of life to everyone and improving our communities, one life at a time. A library serving a community of any kind (a village, school, city, college or university, corporation, government) enriches that community, which would be impoverished and weakened if that library did not exist.
— Michael Gorman, Our Own Selves: More Meditations for Librarians, p. 191
A committed librarian is a person who loves humanity and seeks to help individuals and society; a person who loves learning and the achievements of humankind; and, above all, a person who loves truth.
— Michael Gorman, Our Singular Strengths: Meditations for Librarians, p. 190